Why Méribel-Mottaret Ski Resort?
- Highest, snow-sure village of Méribel with easy access to the immense 3 Valleys ski area
- Located at the foot of the ski slopes, so ideal for families
- 'Famille Plus' resort - good children’s facilities and great for families
- Modern and attractive village with good selection of services
- Quieter alternative to the other Méribel villages
Meribel Mottaret (3 Valleys) Information
Méribel is located in the Tarentaise area of the northern French Alps, at the very heart of Les 3 Vallées – the world’s largest ski area! Discreetly nestled in harmony with a mountain setting.
Set in a mountain setting amongst a forest of Arolla pine trees, the ski resort of Méribel is in fact made up of five villages, each with its own identity and atmosphere. These villages are: Méribel Les Allues (1100m), Méribel Village (1400m), Méribel Centre (1500m), Méribel Les Hauts (1600m) and Méribel Mottaret (1750m). Visitors at all the villages are well catered for with shops, restaurants and bars and served by an efficient shuttle bus system.
Overall, Méribel is a tasteful purpose-built ski resort made up of traditional wood-clad, low-rise, chalet-style buildings and prides itself on its chalet-life atmosphere. Méribel remains one of the most popular ski resorts for British skiers and it’s not hard to understand why because of the combination of being a great village ski resort and its perfect location within the 3 Valleys ski area.
At 1750m, Méribel-Mottaret is the highest of the Meribel villages making it snow-sure and in the best location to quickly and easily access every part of the immense 3 Valleys ski area. As Méribel-Mottaret is located at the foot of the ski slopes, it is classed as a ski-in/ski-out resort and this makes the village ideal for families. The fantastic snowpark is one of the best in Europe and caters for freestylers of any level.
The friendly village of Méribel-Mottaret was created in 1972 and has a more modern appearance than the other Méribel villages. It's noticeably quieter too. That said, the architecture has still been kept very traditional, with attractive wooden-clad chalets all around. Most of the ski accommodation is situated on the edge of the ski slopes, offering very easy access. Méribel-Mottaret has a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars. The compact size of the village enables you to reach all the amenities and services on foot. Many more shops and facilities can be found in nearby Meribel Centre, including the Olympic Park with its swimming pool, spa, gym, ice rink, climbing wall, bowling alley and even it's very own nightclub.
Méribel–Mottaret is divided into two areas. Le Laitelet is located on the western side of the resort, extends from the centre at 1700m to Le Hameau at 1800m and is the larger of the two areas. The ‘Chalets’ gondola provides free access to Le Laitelet from 08:45 – 19:30. Le Chatelet is located on the eastern side of Méribel-Mottaret and faces west, meaning maximum sunshine throughout the whole day. The lower and upper parts of this area are connected by an external lift.
From Méribel-Mottaret you have access to the Vanoise National Park via the Tueda Nature Reserve with its lake pine tree forest, impressive hiking trails and cross-country skiing pistes. The impressive Mont Vallon, surrounded by a vast fir-tree forest, sits in a commanding position above Meribel-Mottaret at 3000m.
Méribel-Mottaret is located approximately 4km from Méribel. The free local shuttle bus service serves all the Méribel villages. It runs from 08:00 to 00:00 (approx.). You can also ski down to Méribel via an easy green slope.
Ski Collection also features 3 and 4-Star self-catering ski apartments as well as a 4-Star Luxury self-catering chalet slightly lower down in the valley in nearby Meribel (4km from Méribel-Mottaret).
The Méribel-Mottaret Tourist Office can help with any questions or advice you need during your stay and can also inform you of what is going on in the resort the week you are there. Their website is also full of useful information, tips and suggestions.
MERIBEL SKI AREA
Meribel is part of the large ‘Les 3 Vallées’ ski area (the largest ski area in the world), which many skiers rightly regard as the greatest intermediate ski-playground in the world! This impressive lift-linked ski area is formed of 8 ski resorts:
- Val Thorens
- Les Menuires
- Saint Martin de Belleville
- La Tania
Les 3 Vallées offers you a total of 600km of high altitude and snow-sure ski slopes - every ski enthusiast’s dream! Amazing skiing can be had right from the beginning of the winter season in the Les 3 Vallées ski area and there is something for everyone - no matter what your style or ability. Renowned for its quality of snow and modern ski lift system, Val Thorens is a perfect ski resort for everyone.
The 3 Valleys benefit from excellent snow coverage - the minimum altitude level for skiing is 1300m and the maximum is 3230m. This means that a huge 85% of the ski area is located above 1800m. Some 2000 snowmaking machines cover a third of the ski area as well. The 3 Valleys offer wide ski runs that are maintained nightly by 80 piste grooming machines.
Méribel is located at the very heart of Les 3 Vallées ski area, making it a perfect location to make the most of and explore the whole of the amazing 3 Valleys ski area: within a single lift trip you have access to Courchevel and La Tania in one direction and Mont du Vallon, Val Thorens, Les Menuires and Saint Martin de Belleville in the other.
Meribel's slopes are divided into 3 main sections (based on lift bases): below Meribel centre, up in Mottaret and in the woods of Meribel Village which is on the road to La Tania (featured by our sister company Peak Retreats). Meribel has a fast and efficient lift system, like most of the 3 Valleys.
For those chasing the sun in Méribel, the Tougnète side of the mountain gets the best sun in the mornings. The Saulire area has the best afternoon light plus the long runs on this side of the mountain mean less time on the lifts and allow more time on the pistes!
For shelter in bad weather, Meribel Village is unrivaled for its tree-lined woodland skiing.
Méribel is an easy-going ski resort to learn to ski or snowboard in and has excellent slopes for beginners, with some great long and gentle green slopes. For beginners as well as second-week skiers, the Altiport beginner area is the most appropriate, allowing you to cruise along tree-lined runs. At Rond Point (at the top of the village), there is a covered carpet-lift mainly used bu children.
In Meribel-Mottaret, each part has a good nursery slope with a carpet lift at the base.
This area is particularly sunny during the afternoons. From the Altiport area you can easily take the ‘Loze’ chairlift over to Courchevel and La Tania (featured with our sister company Peak Retreats), allowing progressing beginners to explore a little further afield. There is also another beginner area in Méribel-Mottaret.
The Yeti Camp: a perfect area to learn skiing or snowboarding! In front of Le Hameau from Méribel-Mottaret, on the Arolles skilift and the Table Verte magic carpet. Right in the middle of the Yeti Park is the perfect area for beginner skiers or snowboarders. Large green slope, easy ski, dedicated lifts ... You will progress at full tilt!
Once you have gained some confidence in the beginner's area and want to venture out a little, there are 4 green runs slightly higher up which all come straight back down into the resort – so there is no fear of ending up somewhere you don’t feel you can get back from. The easy ‘Le Blanchot’ green run is perfect for beginners and children, is accessed via the Saulire Express lift and will bring you back down to the Altiport area.
There are some lovely wide and winding blue runs in the Tougnète/Roc de Fer area: start with ‘Faon’, then take the Tougnète 2 lift onto ‘Crêtes’ and continue down ‘Choucas’. These very pleasant runs can be enjoyed by skiers and snowboarders of any level.
There are several free ski lifts in Méribel, to allow you to practice and gain a bit of confidence before purchasing a lift pass:
- Méribel: ‘Le Loupiot’ magic carpet, ‘Côtes’ drag lift (Rond-Point), ‘Altiport’ drag lift and ‘Fontanyl’ rope tow (Altiport).
- Méribel-Mottaret: ‘Chalets’ gondola, ‘Doron’ & ‘Ourson’ magic carpets (Laitelet).
- Méribel offers a special beginner lift pass called the ‘Mini-Pass’ which gives beginners access to the chairlifts and slopes that are suitable for those trying on skis for the very first time.
MERIBEL FAMILY ZONES
In the Altiport area, there are various fun family zones. You will find the Family Cool fun themed area on the Blanchot green run off the first stage of the Saulire gondola. Off of this is the Eskimo themed Piste des Inuits, with an Inuit village complete with entertainers. Near to this is the Moon Wild (Piste des Animaux) which is an informative trail through the forest. Finally, off of the Loze chairlift, the Pic Bleu run is also branded the Altai Dragon piste, with 'full-sized dragons'.
In Mottaret, you will find the Yeti family fun park off of the Himalaya funslope.
With the majority of the Méribel ski slopes being blue and red, intermediates are very well catered for and have a great choice to keep you busy all day long.
For progression from the Altiport green runs, the Dent de Burgun chairlift is one to try where the Geal run has some good snow coverage and some of the best on that mountainside. The runs around Chaudanne lift base can get pretty crowded so best avoided if you're a nervous progressor.
The sunny western side of Méribel (towards Val Thorens) has a good selection of blue and red slopes and it is best to head here in the mornings if you want to catch the best of the suns rays. From here it is also easy to explore Saint Martin de Belleville and Les Menuires. If you take the Tougnete 2 lift you will find a good red run called ‘Jersalem’, which is quiet, wide and fairly steep.
For intermediates (as well as experts) there is a great run from Mont-Vallon at 2952m (Méribel’s highest skiing point) down to Méribel with a vertical drop of 1450m: the ‘Combe Vallon’ red run is the longest in the Méribel Valley and is very enjoyable – it just keeps going and going so be prepared to stop a few times for a much-needed breather whilst admiring the glorious snowy mountain view!
For less adventurous intermediates the runs from the second station of the ‘Plattieres’ gondola back to the first station are ideal. You could also try the lovely wide ‘Choucas’ ‘Faon’ blue runs.
A selection of red and black runs (labelled Peuf Experience on the map) are left ungroomed for a while after snowfalls.
Intermediates comfortable on blue runs need not stay in Meribel - the journeys over to Courchevel and Val Thorens are easily doable, with a bit of confidence!
For experts (as well as intermediates) there is a great run from Mont-Vallon at 2952m (Méribel’s highest skiing point) down to Méribel with a vertical drop of 1450m. These two long red runs are steep, narrow at the start, challenging and are quite often full of moguls. This is a good place to head first thing or towards the end of the day. The best route back is via the ‘Plan des Mains’ lift and then the ‘Sittelle’.
The run down the side of the double ‘Roc de Tougne’ drag lift is good as is the steep black run all the way down the ‘Tougnete’ gondola back to Méribel. For the 1992 Olympic Ladies Downhill Skiing, the steep black ‘Face’ slope was created and is definitely recommended. As is the black ‘Combe Tougnete’ run.
Méribel’s most notorious black run is called the ‘Vertical Xperience’ (also known as ‘Couloir Tournier’) which is accessible from the top of the Saulire Express gondola. This 37° couloir offers guaranteed thrills and is only for the bold and brave of experts…..Some of you may just prefer to watch!
A selection of red and black runs (labelled Peuf Experience on the map) are left ungroomed for a while after snowfalls.
A whole freeride playground at your feet…offering a virgin environment, consistently good snow due to a northern exposure and arguably two of the best pistes of the Valley which ironically are amongst those the least known by the general public. The Mont de la Challe sector is reached via the new (2017) Roc de Tougne chairlift. This natural area is ideal for good skiers who want to carve on beautiful red and black runs or enjoy the sensations of freeriding on slopes with a relatively gentle gradient!
A selection of red and black runs (labelled Peuf Experience on the map) are left ungroomed for a while after snowfalls. The adjacent red Lagpede and black Bartavelle are advertised as a freeride zone with some of the best snow in the area.
Meribel offers some amazing off-piste skiing (lots of it is close to lifts and slopes), as does the whole of the 3 Valley’s ski area, with deep powder and fantastic views. For your complete safety, we would always recommend that you hire a mountain guide, whether privately or in a group, when skiing off-piste. Guided off-piste tours not only offer safety and peace of mind, but they allow you to experience the very best areas of this immense ski area.
Some great routes include the long descents (with great views) down to the mid stations on the gondola from Brides les Bains at Le Raffort and Les Allues. Or a ridge walk from Courchevel's Creux Noirs chairlift brings you to the classic Col du Fruit run to Meribel Mottaret.
Boarders will love the place, not just for its vast array of on and off-piste skiing, but also for the separate specialist parks. Méribel has two of the best snow parks in Europe! Snowpark DC Area 43 on the Chatelet chairlift above Mottaret is a serious snowpark with a boardercross and big airbag too. There is also a small rookies zone here. Elements Park is aimed at families and beginners and also has a boardercross and Funcross.
There are 33km (21 miles) of magnificent cross-country trails to explore in Méribel and a total of 130km throughout the whole of the 3 Valleys. The main cross-country area in Méribel is the protected Altiport forest, which is suited to beginners. This is the starting point of the long tracks to Courchevel and La Tania.
The Lake Tuéda Nature Reserve of Cembro pines in Méribel-Mottaret is another great site with some gentle tracks. All the cross-country trails in Méribel are free to use and a detailed booklet/map is available from the Méribel Tourist Office.